The Explorer of the Seas made her final visit to Sydney’s OPT this on April 22, concluding Royal Caribbean’s record breaking summer cruise season in Australia and New Zealand, according to a company statement.
The company’s three brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, based seven ships in the region – 15 percent of the global fleet – including two new ships; the Ovation of the Seas and the Azamara Journey.
“Explorer of the Seas’ departure from Sydney on Saturday evening, concludes what has been our biggest and most incredible season to date, carrying more than 300,000 guests on local cruises and injecting an expected AUD$200 million into the local economy in passenger spend alone,” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Royal Caribbean Australia & NZ.
“We increased capacity by 17 percent, introduced two new ships to the region, completely refreshed another, launched a brand new cruise port in Wollongong, and wowed Aussies, Kiwis and more than 50,000 guests from overseas on over 90 different itineraries around Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia. What’s more, Royal Caribbean International became Australia’s largest cruise line in terms of capacity over the summer season. It truly has been a record breaking seven months,” Armstrong said.
“Royal Caribbean changed the game for cruising down under when we introduced supercruising to Australia, with the incredible US$1 billion Ovation of the Seas,” Armstrong continued.
The ship was the first brand new ship to be based in Australian waters.
The Radiance of the Seas made waves this season opening up a new port for the industry, becoming the first cruise ship to bring passengers to the NSW coastal city of Wollongong and arriving to huge celebrations from locals of the Illawarra. The City of Wollongong also welcomed Voyager of the Seas twice during the season.
The Radiance of the Seas also made maiden calls for Royal Caribbean to the beautiful South Pacific islands of Tonga, visiting Vava’u and Nuku’alofa in December. Meanwhile, identical sister ships Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, known as the South Pacific sisters, made their mark with dedicated sailings all season to the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.
The upcoming 2017/18 season will see six ships return, including the Ovation of the Seas for a longer second season, along with South Pacific sisters Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice and Azamara Journey. Next summer will also see the introduction of a number of new cruise ports for the company, with Azamara Journey set to arrive via the west coast of Australia, calling to Exmouth, Bunbury, Albany, Esperance and Kangaroo Island for the first time.